Vietnam firm accepts payment in Bitcoin

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Bitcoin investors withdraw real cash from a special ATM booth in Canada. Photo courtesy of Reuters

The State Bank of Vietnam has not recognized Bitcoin yet but the first company to use it in the country has said it accepts the attendant risk since the digital currency is going to become a global trend.

A central bank official told Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon Online Monday that Bitcoin is not legal or valid in Vietnam.

The statement followed an announcement by private company Hiep Dong that it would accept Bitcoin transactions, which are being done in a dozen countries in Europe and America.

Bui Huy Kien, director of the company which owns parenting forum, said the company has done research and believes that Bitcoin can become a payment system for e-commerce.

"So we want to pioneer the use of this money in Vietnam," he said.

On January 6 his company started to accept payment in Bitcoin for advertisements and PR stories on its forum.

Kien said there are risks but many companies in the world are adopting it nevertheless.

The company on January 14 signed a deal to receive 0.03 Bitcoin as payment from Vietnamese comparison website as a token transaction to start the use of the currency in Vietnam.

"I believe it will be widely accepted in future," Kien was quoted as saying by Thoi bao Kinh te Saigon Online.

Bitcoin was introduced as an open source software in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, possibly a pseudonym for one or more programmers.

Phan Dung Khanh, head of Maybank Kim Eng Securities JSC's investment analysis department, said as a new form of currency it carries many risks for owners.

Bitcoin provides little guarantee compared to normal currencies and has no central authority or banks.

The currency uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money, and thus one encoding mistake would put the owners at a loss since no authority takes responsibility, Khanh said.

There is no legal framework for the currency either, he said. "One will receive no protection in case of fraud," he pointed out.

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